Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Discussions on the foreigners (volunteers as well as conscripts) fighting in the German Wehrmacht, those collaborating with the Axis and other period Far Right organizations. Hosted by George Lepre.
Kurti
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Kurti » 22 Jan 2020 19:23

Thanks you dir this answer Sid!
So there was no organised system, rather it depened on time and place, where a volunteer served?

Did the SS checked their obscure racial theories on the volunteers?
E.g. take blond ukrainians and send the rest to the Wehrmacht?

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Steve
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Steve » 23 Jan 2020 04:25

“From memory, (so it bears checking) I think much of the experienced Ukrainian manpower taken into the Waffen-SS came from the Police security battalions, some of which had nearly two years of anti-partisan service by then”.

Hi Sid, the Police Security battalions if they served in the Western Ukraine would not have seen much anti partisan service for the simple reason that there was very little Soviet partisan activity in the western Ukraine till late in the war. That does not mean they were not experienced in killing people.

smetanin albert
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by smetanin albert » 01 Mar 2020 07:31

from SSO Zinkewytsch
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God created the Internet, but devil created Darknet.

Mannet
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Mannet » 04 Mar 2020 07:24

hi, are there any informations about vehicles used in SS Galizien?

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Askold
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Askold » 24 May 2020 17:54

Mannet wrote:
04 Mar 2020 07:24
hi, are there any informations about vehicles used in SS Galizien?
Unfortunately in Ukrainian, but very excellent topic with photos over here.

https://reibert.info/threads/zbroja-tex ... ss.872248/

Mannet
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Mannet » 26 May 2020 19:31

Askold wrote:
24 May 2020 17:54
Mannet wrote:
04 Mar 2020 07:24
hi, are there any informations about vehicles used in SS Galizien?
Unfortunately in Ukrainian, but very excellent topic with photos over here.

https://reibert.info/threads/zbroja-tex ... ss.872248/
Great, thanks a lot! are these photographed vehicles from 14 SS Grenadier Division, or are just examples?

AllenM
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by AllenM » 26 May 2020 23:05

Growing up, I spoke Polish at home. We had a Ukrainian neighbor who tried to ask me something one day. When she realized I didn't understand her, she added some English words. My question is, how can Ukrainians claim to be Poles? The languages are very different. My mother spoke to her but she spoke five languages.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 May 2020 01:03

Hi Allen,

I don't think Ukrainians do claim to be Poles.

Between the wars it was more the other way around - the Poles were effectively claiming that millions of Catholic Western Ukrainians should be Polish.

After WWI the British had proposed Poland's eastern frontier should run along the ethno-linguistic divide between Polish and Ukrainian (The so-called Curzon Line).

However, after defeating the Red Army, the Poles set up their border far to the East of the Curzon Line and included millions of Ukrainians in their country.

Cheers,

Sid.

Mannet
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Mannet » 17 Jul 2020 20:22

Did ex-soldiers of SS Galizien served in british army after war?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Ukrainians in the Waffen-SS & Wehrmacht

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Jul 2020 12:59

I don't think they served in the British Army.

However, Ukrainians were used by the Ministry of Defence to work on MOD properties, often for clearing unexploded ordinance.

The following is on line:

"Former soldiers of the Galicia Division – approximately 8,500 Ukrainians who, during the Second World War, fought in the ranks of the Galicia Division (see below) formed as part of the German armed forces, and who were transferred to the United Kingdom after the war.

Former soldiers of the Galicia Division at the Hallmuir POW camp near Lockerbie, Scotland. 1948.
In May 1945, when Germany surrendered to the Allied Powers, the Galicia Division was based in Austria. Retreating westwards to avoid capture by the advancing Soviet Red Army, most of its members (about 10,000) surrendered to the British Army and were temporarily interned near Spittal. The Soviet authorities claimed that the Ukrainian members of the division were Soviet citizens and demanded their repatriation to the USSR on the basis of an agreement reached at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. The British government’s position, however, was that the agreement only applied to persons who were Soviet citizens before September 1939, and therefore did not apply to the majority of the division's members, who were originally from pre-war Polish-ruled Galicia. Only the relatively small number of those who came from the pre-war USSR were subject to the agreement, but even in these cases the British government was reluctant to enforce repatriation.

In May and at the beginning of June 1945 the division was transferred to Italy and interned in a camp near Bellaria on the Italian east coast. There, about 1,000 division members were persuaded by a Soviet repatriation commission to return to the Soviet Union voluntarily. In October 1945 the remaining members of the division were moved to a camp near Rimini, a short distance from Bellaria.

From the end of 1945 the British government began to consider how to deal with the division’s members in the longer term. The matter became more urgent in February 1947 when the Allied Powers signed the Treaty of Peace with Italy, due to come into force in September of the same year. Britain did not wish to leave the division behind after removing its troops from Italy, fearing the Italian government might succumb to Soviet demands for the forced repatriation of the Ukrainians. On 1 April 1947 the British Cabinet took the decision to transfer the division to the UK. Whereas in Italy its members were designated surrendered enemy personnel, upon transfer to the UK they were reclassified as prisoners of war.

During May and June of 1947, 8,570 Ukrainians were transported by sea from Venice to Britain. The group included 17 female nurses, a number of priests and several civilian relatives of members of the division. The ex-soldiers were accommodated in prisoner-of-war camps, mainly in eastern England and southern Scotland. Most were engaged to work as agricultural labourers, where they earned a reputation as conscientious workers.

The transfer of the division to the UK was initially viewed by the British government as a temporary measure forced upon them by circumstances, rather than a long term solution, and discussions about the future of the ex-soldiers continued. The Home Office, in particular, sought opportunities for removing them from the UK. The possibility of transferring groups of the men to Canada, the USA and Argentina were investigated, but proved unrealistic at the time. In November 1947 the Ministry of Agriculture began to consider the possibility of including some of the ex-soldiers in the European Volunteer Workers (EVW) scheme, under which it was recruiting workers from displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria. At first, the ministry was prepared to take 4,700 of the ex-soldiers, while the remainder, including those in poor health or disabled, were to be transferred to the British Zone of Occupation of Germany. This led to protests by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain and a number of British charities. Eventually, as a result of the rising demand for additional labour, it was decided that almost all of the ex-members of the Galicia Division would be released from prisoner-of-war status and engaged to work under the EVW scheme. The process was carried out between August and October 1948.

In December 1948 a decision was taken to deport to Germany at the end of the month about 300 ex-members of the division. In protest against the decision, a general strike of Ukrainian EVWs took place on 28 December 1948. Two days later the Home Office announced that only 81 persons were to leave: 45 who chose to go, mainly to rejoin relatives, and 36 with records of unsatisfactory behaviour as prisoners of war. As a result, over 8,000 former soldiers of the Galicia Division were allowed to remain in the UK as EVWs. Many of them subsequently emigrated to other countries."

and......

"When the 8,500 Ukrainian former soldiers of the Galicia Division were transferred to the UK from Italy in May-June 1947 they were accommodated in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps in various parts of the UK, mainly in the agricultural areas of eastern England and southern Scotland. Occasionally the men were moved between camps. In July 1948 the numbers of men in camps at or near various locations were as follows: Hempton (Norfolk) – 1,682 men, Mildenhall (Suffolk) – 1,401, Allington (Lincolnshire) – 1,319, Moorby (Lincolnshire) – 1,264, Botesdale (Suffolk) – 1,010, Dalkeith (Scotland) – 958, Lockerbie (Scotland) – 463, other locations (including hospitals, where invalids were held) – 300. After the men were released from POW status (August-October 1948) and admitted into the European Voluntary Workers (EVW) scheme, the POW camps in which they were being held were taken over by civilian authorities and redesignated as hostels.

Almost all of the 21,000 Ukrainian EVWs and their 860 dependants who were brought to the UK in 1947-1950 from continental Europe were accommodated in hundreds of hostels throughout the country. These were of various types, including former military and POW camps, wartime industrial and agricultural hostels and new hostels converted or built after the war. Although the EVW hostels usually accommodated workers of more than one nationality, many of them had sizeable groups of Ukrainians, in some cases numbering up to several hundred. The hostels were administered by organisations such as the National Service Hostels Corporation, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Coal Board, the YMCA, local authorities and private industrial firms. Initially men and women lived in separate hostels, but married couples were later able to live together or as near as possible to each other. Some EVWs remained in hostels for only a short time before finding private lodgings. Most were able to leave the hostels only after the beginning of 1951, when employment restrictions began to be lifted from those (including the former Galicia Division personnel) who had lived in the UK for at least three years. By the mid-1950s most of the hostels had been closed."

I remember that there was still an ex army camp at Newton Abbot in Devon where there were still ageing Ukrainians and Poles until about 1992. The survivors were then transferred to old peoples' homes and the camp closed.

Cheers,

Sid.

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